Saturday, May 5, 2018

Curried shrimp and spinach

A very simple side dish I made up on the fly last week, just to add a little something special alongside the more regular chicken curry that I made.

Fry a sliced onion long and slow until it caramelizes nicely. Add spoonfuls of ground spice (cumin, coriander, chili, and some curry paste), then a couple of chopped tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes mash down and mingle with the spices. About 10 minutes from serving, add some generous handfuls of fresh baby spinach leaves. Stir carefully to bring them into contact with the heat and let them sweat down. Stir in a handful of shelled cooked shrimp and make sure everything is mixed in and coated with spices.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018


Fry a finely-chopped onion in a large saucepan. Chop some Pastrami into fine slices and add to the pan. We use about 7 to 8oz. Stir and fry a while to let the flavor of the Pastrami come out.

Add a couple of chopped tomatoes and cook until the juice starts to come out.

Add a jug of stock, salt to taste, a healthy squirt of tomato ketchup and a dash of HP sauce for extra flavor. Stir in a can of drained red kidney beans, a similar quantity of finely-diced carrots, and a few handfuls of macaroni.

Bring to the boil, cover and simmer until the pasta, carrots and beans are cooked.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Baked and breaded chicked

I think this started as a camping dish, but it comes out once in a while at home for a change. A favorite with the kids.

Lay out chicken pieces on a baking tray. Coat with a few generous dollops of mayonnaise. Sprinkle a mixture of breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan over the top. Pop in the oven and bake until the chicken is cooked (about 40 minutes).

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Parsnips in creamy horseradish

OK, this is a bit late posting as it was one of the side dishes we had with the Christmas turkey. It is another of our collection of tasty veggies for special occasions, although it is very quick and easy to do.

Peel and core parsnips then blanch them for a minute or two in boiling water. Drain and place in a casserole dish.

Mix 1/2 and 1/2 creamed horseradish and thick cream and pour over the top. The mixture should just coat the parsnips. Sprinkle over grated Parmesan and bake in the oven for about 1/2 hour.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Chicken in port

A tasty treat for a cold evening.

Fry chicken breasts or thighs until browned. Add a cup or two of port and simmer on medium to high until the chicken is cooked and the port is well reduced. Let the pan cool for a bit, then stir in some cream. Bring back to the boil until the liquid thickens.

Serve with potatoes or rice, and vegetables or salad.

Cream of chicken soup

One of many variations on a soupy theme ...

Fry a finely chopped onion until soft. Add some chicken cut into small pieces and fry until browned.

Meanwhile, make a Roux sauce, enough quantity for a soup. Start with milk as normal, but while the sauce is still thick add chicken or turkey stock for flavor. Stir in a pinch of salt, and add the cooked chicken and onion.

Roux sauce

This is the basis for so many soups, dishes, and side dishes that I've got fed up repeating the basic procedure. I'll post it just the once here and link to it where needed.

Melt a knob of butter in a pan, and mix in a spoonful of flour. You want the resulting mixture to be visibly still buttery, not too sloppy but also not so dry that it's all crumbly. As far as quantities go, it depends what you are making, and whether you want a thin or a thick sauce. For a sauce (e.g. to make a cauliflower cheese) you probably need an ounce or so of butter. More for a soup.

Stir and cook on a low heat for a few minutes. You need to cook the flour but you don't want it to catch on the bottom of the pan or it will burn.

Slowly add milk and whisk out any lumps. If you add a decent splash to start with, the milk should get absorbed by the flour mixture and you end up with a very stiff paste. That's OK, just add more milk and repeat.

The danger is if you add too much liquid too quickly you end up with lumpy milk. To get rid of lumps there needs to be enough resistance in the mixture to whisk them against. If it's too thin, you can recover by passing it through a sieve, rubbing the lumps out with the back of a spoon.

As you add liquid, turn up the heat and keep stirring as it comes to the boil. The sauce will thicken and you add more liquid until you reach the consistency you want.